Kellogg's Was The First Company To Do This With Its Cereal

What's the first thing you think of when someone mentions Kellogg's cereal? Frosted Flakes with Tony the Tiger kicking a soccer ball around on the box? Eating a bowl of Rice Krispies sprinkled with sugar in front of the TV on Saturday morning? Or just a plain old, can't-go-wrong box of Corn Flakes? Kellogg's certainly has made their name in the world of breakfast cereals, with everything from athletic tigers to a talking toucan lining the aisle of your local grocer.

Having started in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1906, Kellogg's has a surprisingly colorful background for a company that is mainly known for producing boxes of cereal. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg originally ran a health resort focused on clean and healthy living, concentrated on everything from a healthy diet to more eccentric medical treatments (via McGill). In fact, corn flakes were believed to have originated in Kellogg's institute. According to Kellogg, the bland crispy flakes would have had several health benefits, including the belief they could be a preventative measure to not "excite the passions," if you catch his drift (via Daily JSTOR). Will Kellogg, John's brother, later bought the rights to use Corn Flakes, and although there was a lengthy dispute between the brothers, Kellogg's Corn Flakes soon took the market by storm. A quick and easy breakfast was now available to every American.

Although you would think inventing Corn Flakes was all Kellogg's did, you'd be surprised to know they pioneered another tactic that made opening that box of Grape Nuts all the more exciting.

Kellogg's was the first to include a cereal prize

Boy, oh boy! This box of Frosted Flakes has a prize inside! Who knows what it could be? To your young mind, it could be anything in the world, and you can barely contain yourself as you rip open the box, reaching inside the bag of sugar-coated flakes to claim that mysterious — and more importantly, free — prize. Sure, it may have just been a plastic wheel you drove your folks crazy, a rinky-dink glow-in-the-dark dinosaur skeleton or even a children's video game (via Flashbak), but prizes in cereal boxes really were something special to look forward too. And as it turns out, Kellogg's was the first to think of this concept.

According to Mental Floss, Kellogg's was the original cereal company to offer a prize with their cereal, albeit it wasn't so much as a "prize inside" as it was along the lines of a promotional gimmick: In 1909, if one was to purchase two boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, you would receive a free copy of "The Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Book," which was published by Kellogg's themselves. It wasn't until sometime later in the 1940s that Kellogg's would start putting prizes inside the box, and even later in the 1970s when they began putting plastic toys inside. 

Although cereal prizes would still compete with the classic Cracker Jack prizes of baseball cards and comic booklets (via Antique Trader), Kellogg's helped to popularize the world of cereal to a market hungry for a cheap, quick breakfast.